California enacted in the 2022 legislative cycle more than a dozen laws that specifically improve conditions for immigrants and dozens more that favor Latinos, which puts the state at the head of those that grant greater protections to these communities.
This September 30, Governor Gavin Newsom culminates the enactment of the 2022 laws, which include several victories for the farmworker, undocumented and Latino communities.
Among the victories is the enactment of AB 1766known as “California IDs for All,” which will allow undocumented residents of the state to obtain identification cards.
In California, it is estimated that there are about two million people who lack legal status, and although the state has provided driver’s licenses to the undocumented since 2015, people who did not drive and minors did not have access to a state identification document. The law will enter into force no later than July 1, 2027.
AB 1766 was part of a package of 10 laws that favor immigrants and the Latino community, which includes legislation that will allow street vendors to more easily obtain local health permits to sell products.
California will also give undocumented students better access to reduced tuition rates at public colleges and universities, and to English courses at community colleges.
Additionally, the Democratic Governor signed a bill that will provide low-income Californians with eligibility for legal assistance in civil matters affecting basic human needs, regardless of their immigration status.
In August, Newsom signed SB 836 into law, which prohibits disclosure of a person’s immigration status in public hearings of criminal cases by any party unless approved by a judge.
In a statement, the Democratic governor said that “California is expanding opportunities for everyone, regardless of immigration status,” adding that the state is a “haven” for immigrants.
Farmworkers also claimed victory by getting a law passed that will make it easier for them to join unions and vote. Although Newsom had previously indicated that he would veto the project, he had to give in to pressure from United Farm Workers (UFW).
Farmworkers, union members and their supporters staged a 335-mile protest from Delano, California, to the state capital Sacramento and then camped out in front of the state Capitol for weeks.
The new law expands voting options for farmworkers by allowing them to vote by mail or drop off a ballot at the state Farm Labor Relations Board. Farmworkers can also get assistance filling out their ballots.
Teresa Romero, president of the UFW, called the passage an “incredible victory” resulting from the sacrifice of farm workers.
“We will continue to work with Governor Newsom and legislators to make changes to make things easier,” he said.
This Friday, Newsom also signed into law a package of more than 30 laws, including several aimed at helping Californians access family and disability leave benefits, most notably SB 951, which will allow low-income workers low and middle earn most of their regular wages while taking time off to care for loved ones.
“California created the first Paid Family Leave program in the nation 20 years ago, and today we are taking an important step to ensure that more low-wage workers, many of them women and people of color, can access the time off they have earned. while still supporting his family,” Newsom said in a statement. EFE